Dave Lewis vows to bring Tesco brand ‘back to its core’

Tesco’s new chief executive Dave Lewis is planning to conduct a wide-ranging review of what the Tesco brand should stand for after admitting its reputation has suffered.

Video: An interview with Tesco’s new boss Dave Lewis

Speaking in a video posted to YouTube by Tesco, Lewis says he needs to work out what the “unique element” that makes Tesco stand out is.

“We will go back to the core. We will go back to finding out what is it, be it price, service or availability, that customers need from us so that they reward us with their loyalty,” he adds.

Lewis has been brought in to turn around Tesco’s performance, which is faltering on a number of levels. Its market share continues to drop, sales are down and the supermarket recently issued its second profit warning in just six weeks, an announcement that led to Tesco parachuting Lewis in a month early.

The brand has also taken a battering, with consumer perceptions of Tesco down across every metric from Value to Quality to Buzz, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex.

Lewis says he is “not naïve” to the position of the brand and its reputation but that he sees it as an opportunity. He believes that by improving customer service and the experience of shoppers it can begin to turn around that reputation.

“The great thing about brands is it’s very easy to talk but you change reputation by doing. We have 320,000 staff in the UK and we touch so many people, if we can change how it is they experience us then the opportunity to turnaround that reputation is massive. We need to change our behaviour if we want to change our reputation,” he adds.

Lewis says there “has to be” changes at an executive level in order to reverse the business’ declines and that he will make “difficult calls”. However, there will be no “hasty decisions or kneejerk reactions”.

“I’m happy with the business that we’ve got and we’ll continue to run the business we’ve got. I would ask everyone to keep focusing on making the customer experience better tomorrow than it is today. When we do that we’ll be OK in managing the commercial aspects of the business and not needing to make some of the changes people outside our business are advising us to,” he says.

Lewis says that while he has lots of “ideas, thoughts and questions” about the steps needed to rebuild the brand, he will not be jumping to a simple solution and will instead take the time to listen and learn from staff about where Tesco should focus its efforts.

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